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January 25, 2006

Link of the Day 2: Screw the Troops

It's not often I feel the need to laud Joel Stein's courage, but while reading his latest column, I twice heard the faint echo of his giant brass balls clanking together...

January 25, 2006 | Permalink

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Is there any doubt now? The mask of the liberals have finally slipped, just enough to confirm what many have suspected all along and that is that they have always hated the troops, the military.
All this time it was "I support the troops, but...." Well at least this is more honest than the rest.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Jan 25, 2006 4:12:19 PM

ah, troll bait...

I've actually always wondered this: what does "supporting the troops" ential? Is it just thinking they're awesome? Wanting to keep them in the line of fire? Wanting them to have health care? Attaching a magnetic ribbon? Is it just a demagogic phrase or an actual sentence w/ a verb?

Posted by: Ezra | Jan 25, 2006 4:18:31 PM

Let's compare, shall we Fred?

Joel Klein:

All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return.

President Bush:

* Body armor — Just this month we learned that a secret Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials. (The administration was no better on armored humvees.)

* Compensation — In 2003, just five months after the invasion began, the Pentagon announced its intention to cut the pay of its 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, who are already contending with guerrilla-style attacks, homesickness and 120- degree-plus heat. Troops stood to lose a pay increase of $75 a month in "imminent danger pay" and $150 a month in "family separation allowances." The Defense Department supported the cuts.

* Health care — Also in 2003, the administration announced that veterans who come home from Iraq will get health care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for two years, which used to be a lifetime guarantee. Hundreds of thousands of veterans of earlier U.S. military conflicts might also no longer qualify for VA health care or might be forced out by rules proposed by the Bush administration to relieve an overburdened system. The changes would increase veterans' out-of-pocket costs by increasing co-payments for out-patient care and prescription drugs, as well as require many to pay a $250-a-year enrollment fee just to stay in the VA health-care system.


* Housing — Around the same time, President Bush cut $1 billion from the budget for military family housing. Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) asked GOP lawmakers to restore the funding by scaling back some of the tax cuts for millionaires, but they rejected his measure.

* Education — Bush also proposed substantial cuts in the government's Impact Aid program, which provides badly needed funds to school districts that have a significant number of students from military families.

Posted by: Allen K. | Jan 25, 2006 4:20:19 PM

Joel Stein, that is. I blame Joe Klein.

Posted by: Allen K. | Jan 25, 2006 4:21:45 PM

Allen, in your zeal to trash the Bush, I think you missed the point of *my* post and that was to compare the columns of LIBERALS and how they talk about the troops. I find his column refreshing.

And let's be honest, there really could be no comparison because if Mr. Stein had his way, there would be no troops at all. In fact, Mr. Klein admits that he has not even served in on a jury much less in the military.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Jan 25, 2006 4:31:27 PM

Still waiting for an answer...

Posted by: Ezra | Jan 25, 2006 4:33:44 PM

Allen, in your zeal to trash the Bush, I think you missed the point of *my* post and that was to compare the columns of LIBERALS and how they talk about the troops.

Sure, I caught it. But I really couldn't give a rat's ass how they talk about the troops, or your goal to keep the focus on how liberals talk. Who really hates the troops? I think the evidence is pretty clear.

Posted by: Allen K. | Jan 25, 2006 5:09:22 PM

Here's what 'supporting the troops' doesn't mean:

It doesn't mean allowing Bu$hCo to hide their misbehavior, incompetence, lying, etc. behind the flag. Criticism of poliitcal figures of almost any kind clearly isn't involved in supporting the troops, right Fred?

I don't agree with Stein's view on parades, warm receptions home, etc. Most military people are completely honorable and just take orders. They should be honored for their service if they lawfully perform their duties.

When Bush says or implies that criticism of the war or of elected officials is not supporting the troops, he sets the stage for the entire military apparatus to be attacked. The guilt is on Bush's shoulders for shamefully hiding behind the troops to justify his war misjudgements and incompetence.

Posted by: JimPortandOR | Jan 25, 2006 5:12:36 PM

Please add to Allen K.'s list the lowering of standards for enlistment. Basically, to beef up the enlistment quotas, the Army is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Thanks to this desperate measure, there are guys enlisting now that have spent more time in jail than they ever did in school. Guys who can't do basic math or read a hygiene manual are now in the military. These are not just the people who represent our country abroad in some incredibly demanding situations, these are guys that hard working repeat tour soldiers have to depend on to watch their backs and keep the company alive. This low standardizing may make the numbers look better on the quarterly reports, but it is extremely disrespectful to the enlisted and to the institution of the military itself.

Posted by: sprocket | Jan 25, 2006 5:38:52 PM

Stein's column strikes me as telling "The Aristocrats" joke to slightly the wrong audience.

Posted by: Pooh | Jan 25, 2006 5:57:05 PM

I personally think the column is more obnoxious than enlightening, and will hurt more than help the general anti-war argument. I'm not going to read it again; but I don't remember even one sentence that I agreed with. Honestly, I don't think this column was much less offensive than some fascist 'patriot' calling me a traitor.

Posted by: Gary Sugar | Jan 25, 2006 6:03:35 PM

hmm, I don't get his point. I mean I GET it, I think, but.."All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades."

Isn't that what people, like myself, who are against the war but support the troops mean when we say we're against the war but support the troops?

Posted by: Matt | Jan 25, 2006 6:07:03 PM

One of the dumber columns I've ever read, and a disservice to any of us who actually are passionately against this war.

Stein's condescension is awful. We depend upon an all-volunteer force, and our military exists to defend us and help secure our national interests when political and diplomatic efforts fail.

Our beef is with the political party governing our military's activities, not those who are serving. Soldiers, after all, are NOT responsible for the policies that send them off to fight, and they have no choice in the matter.

It was *our* political failures that allowed the Bush Administration into power, not the failure of our military. Mr. Stein would do well to look to himself and his shrill idiocies.

Posted by: Vizsla1086 | Jan 25, 2006 7:42:18 PM

THERE IS NO DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE THAT ANYONE EVER SPAT UPON A RETURNING VIETNAM VET, EVER. NONE. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

AND FRED'S/TOKE'S "EVIDENCE" WILL COUNT AS MUCH AS THEIR OTHER STUFF.

REPEATING. . .THERE IS NO DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE THAT ANYONE EVER SPAT UPON A RETURNING VIETNAM VET, EVER. NONE. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

Posted by: Stephen | Jan 25, 2006 9:54:53 PM

Please add to Allen K.'s list

I should have been clearer that I grabbed this from The Carpetbagger Report (I did link to it).

Posted by: Allen K. | Jan 25, 2006 10:18:30 PM

Ezra,

While it is true that the men and women in the military voluteered to serve their country, it is the Congress and the President that chose to send them to war. They are told where to go, when to be there, and what to do once they get there.

Supporting the troops means appreciating that they have been sent there on YOUR behalf.

Over the past several years there has been a great deal of attention paid to the number of servicemen that have been killed in the process of serving their country. How about displaying the same level of interest and excitement when our troops come home alive?

Posted by: m | Jan 25, 2006 11:33:45 PM

Allen K,

I don't know enough about your other points to comment, but the body armor point is just off-base. If soldiers were 100% encased in three feet of concrete, they would be nearly invincible. They could also get nothing done.

There has always been, and there will always be, a tradeoff between armor and mobility. But being too slow will get you killed a lot easier than being underarmored. How many times have you heard of soldiers electing to remove their trauma plates because they were too heavy? Indeed, in Vietnam many soldiers ditched their vests altogether.

80% of Marine KIA's might have survived with (undefined) "extra" armor? Fine; but the armor they wear now is the best that any military has ever seen. It is the first armor to ever stop the 7.62 mm round fired by the AK-47. Plus, suggesting that the Pentagon is deliberately letting troops die is just poorly thought out. Do you have any idea how much it costs to train replacement soldiers?

Posted by: Mastiff | Jan 26, 2006 4:16:03 AM

To support the troops, you must support the mission. The troops in Iraq, for the most part, knew they would be fighting in Iraq.

But Dennis Prager can explain it better than I can:

Does The Left Honestly Support Our Troops?

By Dennis Prager

Liberals, Democrats and others on the Left frequently state that they "support the troops." For most of them, whether they realize it or not, this is not true. They feel they must say this because the majority of Americans would find any other position unacceptable. Indeed, for most liberals, the thought that they really do not support the troops is unacceptable even to them.

Lest this argument be dismissed as an attack on leftist Americans' patriotism, let it be clear that leftists' patriotism is not the issue here. Their honesty is.

In order to understand this, we need to first have a working definition of the term "support the troops." Presumably it means that one supports what the troops are doing and rooting for them to succeed. What else could "support the troops" mean? If you say, for example, that you support the Yankees or the Dodgers, we assume it means you want them to win.

But most of the Left does not want the troops to win in Iraq. The Left's message is this: "You troops may think you are winning; you may think you are doing good and moral things in Iraq; you may believe you are fighting the worst human beings of our age and protecting us against the scourge of Islamic terror. But we on the Left believe none of that. We believe this war is being fought for oil and for Halliburton and other corporations; we believe you are waging a war that is both illegal and immoral; we believe you have invaded a country for no good reason and have killed a hundred thousand Iraqis [the Left's generally mentioned number] for no good reason; but, hey, we sure do support you."

Honest people on the Left need to understand that the two positions are not reconcilable. A German citizen during World War II could not have argued: "The Nazi regime's army is engaged in an evil war of aggression and is slaughtering millions of innocent people, and I therefore completely oppose this war, but I sure do support the Nazi troops."

One example is the claim made by Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and almost all other Democrats and liberals that the war in Iraq is "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." How does one support troops that are fighting a wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time? A few leftist writers have been honest enough to say, "Nothing personal, guys, but I sure don't support you." But the vast majority of the Left and all Democratic politicians have not been honest on this matter.

A second example is the oft-repeated line, found on liberal bumper stickers, "War is not the answer." Aside from the idiocy of this claim -- war has solved slavery, ended the Holocaust, destroyed Japanese Fascism, preserved half the Korean peninsula from near-genocide, and saved Israel from extinction, among other noble achievements -- the claim offers no support to those who do engage in war.

How could one believe that "war is not the answer" and also claim to "support the troops," the very people waging what is "not the answer"? The answer is, by being dishonest.

A third example is the Left's opposition to military recruitment on most of the elite and many other college campuses. So deep is leftist disdain for troops that most on the Left regard the mere presence of military personnel on a university campus as a form of contamination. Yet, the Left claims to "support the troops."

Many on the Left express far more contempt than support for the troops.

A Democratic senator compares our interrogators to the Nazis and Communist torturers; the head of Amnesty International in America defends likening Guantanamo Bay to the Gulag; and liberals routinely speak of troops as coming from the lowest socio-economic rungs of society (maybe that's one reason they oppose recruiters on campuses, lest the best educated actually join the military). But, hey, the Left supports the troops.

An honest leftist would say: "Because I view this war as immoral, I cannot support our troops." What is not honest is their saying, "Support the troops -- bring them home." Supporting people who wish to fight entails supporting their fight; and if that fight is opposed, those waging it are also opposed.

Many on the Left angrily accuse the Right of disparaging their patriotism. That charge, too, is false. I have never heard a mainstream conservative impugn the patriotism of liberals. But as regards their attitude toward our troops, the patriotism of those on the Left is not the issue. The issue is their honesty.

Copyright 2005 Creators Syndicate

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 26, 2006 9:31:53 AM

Hey, Cap'n. So basically, no conservative would ever say that liberals are unpatriotic, but secretly we all know that they are? Is that the gist of it?

I don't know if you understand this, but admitting "Prager can explain it better than I can" is like saying you're not as good as Stephen Hawking at climbing stairs. Because in your quest to explain how "support the troops" means or necessarily entails "support the war in Iraq," you've cited a source who (by his own confession) merely presumes that the two mean the same thing. That's called "begging the question" and (I imagine I'll have to explain this to you slowly) it doesn't count as an explanation.

If you mean "support the mission," say "support the mission," please. If you mean hope for the troops' safety and welfare, please say that.

But if you don't, we liberals are going to notice that you're not actually making a logical argument, and with some justice perhaps wonder out loud whether you suffer from a learning disability. Seriously, what is it about the topic of Iraq that makes conservatives forget how to speak English?

Posted by: Jack Roy | Jan 26, 2006 11:05:30 AM

Hey Jack, just cuz you can't be honest, with yourself or anyone else, that is your problem. At least Stein was honest. I have known for a long time that most liberals don't support the troops.

You can't support the troops and not support their goals. It is that simple. If you can't understand that, then I wouldn't be telling anyone else they are learning disabled.

The left has to hide their true ideas and lie about who they are if they ever want to regain power.

Liberals can't tell the American people that the reason Durbin and other liberals were screaming about abuses at Guantanamo Bay is because abuses happened at Abu Graib and the liberals know that the US military is the US military everywhere, so who needs proof before leveling an accusation of torture at the US military. And the liberals also know that it is OK to compare US troops to Nazis because everyone(liberals) knows that the people who join the US military after 9/11 are thugs with buzzcuts who can't wait to torture and kill arabs. I mean why else would someone join this imperialistic war machine voluntarily? They are sadistic racists, just like the Nazis!

If liberals supported the troops, they would be outraged at statements made by Kennedy and Durbin. Instead liberals celebrate those statements.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 26, 2006 11:39:39 AM

It is transparent. Everyone knew it and Stein simply gave them voice. In this thread, the efforts to dance around that fact is telling.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Jan 26, 2006 11:44:53 AM

Man, I thought Stein's joke was pretty dumb, but watching wingnuts go bezerk over it, I think I am starting to get the joke!

Posted by: sprocket | Jan 26, 2006 2:08:17 PM

Toke,
You talk about being honest? I'm glad I have you and Prager around to honestly tell me what I was thinking, because I thought I was thinking something completely different.

As an actual veteran, I thought I was thinking that it was disgusting that the republicans consider our American Fighting Forces to be nothing but a disposable commodity. When I heard about cuts in military pay, equipment, and veteran’s services, and things like insufficient troop levels and military experts being ignored, I thought I was thinking that was a disgusting way to show support, but now I find out from you that this kind of treatment is just dandy. I even thought that I thought support should consist of more than just yellow ribbons on SUV’s.

I’m also glad you two were here to tell me what I was actually thinking when I was in the military. My memories were of trying to do my job as safely as possible, and eventually coming home. To my surprise, I actually wanted to fight, and wanted you guys to stir up lots of wars for me to go to. I don’t remember thinking that not seeing my family was OK with me, and that divorce was just something that happened, and wives don’t really feel abandoned when their husbands spend all their time in some war. Must have forgotten that over time.

Thanks for the honest memories. Speaking of memories, how long ago was it that you served in the military? What, with your great knowledge of what the American Fighting Forces really think, I know that you can’t honestly be nothing more than a ChickenHawk talking out of his ass.

Posted by: William Bollinger | Jan 26, 2006 4:58:43 PM

"As an actual veteran,"

As opposed to? A fake one? Why do you got to point out that you are 'really' a vet? Ohhhh! you must be one of them liberal, anti-military, anti-American, veterans. You guys are all over these liberal blogs. You must've been pretty lonely in the military, given your views.

"When I heard about cuts in military pay, equipment, and veteran’s services, and things like insufficient troop levels and military experts being ignored"

You were probably listening to Air America or a MoveOn commercial.

"I’m also glad you two were here to tell me what I was actually thinking when I was in the military."

Well, as an "actual veteran", like you are, someone has to make it up.

Hey GI Joe, Joel Stein let the cat out of the bag, not me. He just confirmed what I have known for a long time. Most liberals have disdain for the troops.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 26, 2006 6:11:38 PM

Maybe Stein will admit that liberals think it is OK to vote against an extremely qualified judicial nominee simply because that nominee is conservative.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jan 26, 2006 6:44:24 PM

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